Health communication has developed over the last twenty-five years as a vibrant and important field of study concerned with the powerful roles performed by human and mediated communication in prevention, health care delivery and health promotion. Health communication inquiry has emerged as an exciting applied behavioral science research area which students can pursue at various levels, including at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It is an applied area of research not only because it examines the pragmatic influences of human communication on the provision of health care and the promotion of public health, but also because the work in this area is often used to enhance the quality of health care delivery and health promotion. To this end, health communication inquiry is usually problem-based, focusing on identifying, examining, and solving health care and health promotion problems in real life. This makes health communication an exciting academic pursuit with significant relevance to policy makers, communication experts and social behavioural scientists.
Within the health communication field, communication is conceptualized as the central social process in the provision of health care delivery and the promotion of public health. The centrality of the process of communication is based upon the pervasive roles communication performs in creating, gathering, and sharing "health information." Health information is the most important resource in health care and health promotion because it essential in guiding strategic health behaviors, treatments, and decisions (Kreps, 1988). The process of communication also enables health promotion specialists to develop persuasive messages for dissemination over salient channels to provide target audiences with relevant health information to influence their health knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. While communication is certainly a powerful process in health care, the dynamics of communication in health contexts are also very complex, the communication channels used are numerous, and the influences of communication on health outcomes are powerful. Health communication inquiry has developed to demystify the complexity of the multifaceted roles performed by communication in health care and health promotion. Such inquiry is conducted to increase knowledge about the influences of communication on health outcomes and direct the knowledge gained toward helping participants in the modern health care system use communication strategically to accomplish their health goals.
Head of Thematic Area:
Dorothy Omollo Odhiambo
Members of Thematic Area :
Possible Career Opportunities
- Behaviour Change Communications Officer/Manager
- Health Communication Officer/Manager
- Community Health Officer
- Public Health Communucation Officer
For further inquiry or inform on this area of expertise, contact Department of Communication Skills and Studies, University of Nairobi. 8-4-4 Building. 1st Floor